November 20, 2013

PARO the Robot: Enhancing Communication Through Play

This research and the resulting paper was the culmination of 5 years of work surrounding "Paro" the robot seal. We sought to answer the question "Does playing with a robot enhance social interaction among those on the autism spectrum?" Our findings indicate that the opportunity to play with the robot in mixed-group settings reduced stereotypical and sensory-seeking behaviors in favor of socially interactive and representational play. Additionally, a student with a marked fear of animals showed reduced fear behavior over the course of the 10 week study.

This research was presented at the Autism Society of America's annual conference in Indianapolis, IN, and most notably, at IMFAR 2013, in Donostia, Spain.